Every year, millions of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers, bottles of wine and more. Unfortunately, that can also lead to tons of waste in our landfills.
Interested in making this holiday a little greener? Follow Rumpke’s top ways to work toward an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day.
Tip 1: Know Your Valentine’s Day Recycling List
Show your love on Valentine’s Day by recycling properly. If you’re confused about which Valentine’s Day items are recyclable, check out your local services acceptable items list. For example, here’s Rumpke’s list of acceptable items:
- Boxes from chocolate and candy—no bows or ribbons
- Paper cards and envelopes—no glitter, foil or batteries (even the tiny ones that play music in cards)
- Paper wrapping paper—no foil or glitter
- Wine and champagne bottles—remove the corks
- Cardboard boxes
Tip 2: Make Mindful Purchases
Now that you know which items your local service accepts in their recycling program (see Tip 1), be mindful and make eco-friendly purchases. Opt for purchasing items that are accepted in your local recycling to avoid sending more material to the landfill. Or, consider material-less options that are consumer or experience based, for example:
- Slippers or a pajama set
- An edible fruit arrangement
- Spa items like soap or bath accessories
- Fragrances such as perfume or cologne
- Locally-grown plants—they are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly
- Jewelry or other accessories
Tip 3: DIY Valentine’s Day Cards
Skip the store cards and fashion a more meaningful and eco-friendly message with a personalized Valentine card you make yourself. Be sure to skip the glitter, foils and plastics so that it’s recyclable! If you’re not sure where to start, there are many online resources available to help you create your own greeting cards. You can find tutorials or you can use a free online design program to create a Valentine’s Day e-card with fun graphics and personal photos. The possibilities are endless!
Tip 4: Homemade Desserts
A great way to reduce waste and show loved ones you care is to make a homemade meal from scratch. Consider celebrating an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day with a tasty homemade dessert!
Baking something tasty and as sweet as your sweetheart is easier than you think. From iconic chocolate hearts to cookies, cakes, snacks, and more, there are many options to choose from that save time, taste great, and help show you care:
- Iconic chocolate hearts
Tip 5: Give an Experience
Instead of giving a physical gift, consider going eco-friendly and giving an experience. Whether it’s a weekend trip or a cozy night at home, a great experience together is priceless (and sustainable). Try activities such as:
- Taking a class together
- A movie night
- Visiting local attractions
- A candlelit dinner
- A “staycation” at home or a hotel
- A concert, show, event or game
Tip 6: Personalized Presents
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show your love and care for the planet by gifting eco-friendly personalized presents. These types of special gifts are not only eco-friendly but also thoughtful and personal. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Make candles of their favorite scents from scratch or by using a candle-making kit. You can use natural ingredients like beeswax or soy wax and add essential oils for a personalized touch.
Knit a blanket, scarf or hat using organic and sustainable materials. It’s a thoughtful and sustainable present that will keep your loved one warm and cozy.
Photo Album or Scrapbook
Put together a photo album or scrapbook with pictures of your favorite memories together. You can also add personalized messages and quotes to make it more special.
Origami Flower Bouquet
Create an origami flower bouquet using recycled paper. It’s a unique and eco-friendly present that will last forever.
Decorated Photo Frame
Decorate a photo frame using natural materials like twigs, leaves, or flowers. You can also add a personalized message to make it more special.
Tip 7: Reuse Household Items
Repurpose unused objects or materials around the house to give them a second life and make your “love day” unique:
- Use newspaper for watercolor Valentines
- Make crayon heart Valentines
- Turn empty, clean jars into Valentine’s Day Mason Jars filled with candies or trinkets
- Have a fun craft night with the kids by creating Toilet Paper Roll Valentines.
Tip 8: Perform a Valentine’s Day Waste Audit
After Valentine’s Day, take a look at what you threw away and record your findings. Review the results and brainstorm ways to fill the recycling bin instead of the garbage can for next Valentine’s Day. In fact, if you want to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle, consider doing a waste audit for every holiday!
Tip 9: Give Your Service Driver a Valentine
Aside from romance, Valentine’s Day is a good time to appreciate others, including our important service workers. Waste and recycling drivers are our environmental champions working hard to keep our neighborhoods clean and green.
You can show your drivers you care by:
- Giving them a friendly Valentine
- Saying thank you
- Following recycling and curbside guidelines
- Following cart placement rules
- Making more green-minded decisions
Happy Valentine’s Day!
When we adopt more sustainable and eco-friendly habits and take part in our local recycling programs, we successfully protect the environment. This Valentine’s Day, we hope you cherish your time with loved ones - that’s not something you can find on a shelf.
Author: Leah Dietle, East Area Communications Assistant